I’ve been told for some time now that I should be blogging. I’ve put it off. I was waiting for a sign.

April 2013, I was attending the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) for the umpteenth time. Life circumstances had changed and I’d decided not to do the show as usual but, instead, follow where the wind blew my hat.  Be open.

The next thing I knew, I was being thrown into a van and kidnapped by a half dozen crazy bloggers in New Orleans from one event to another. Party buses and adventures ensued.

Just before that, I was at the HGTV celebrity networking party, a small and seemingly random mix of people, and wasn’t completely sure why I’d been invited.  I assumed that they’d nicely invited the national design finalists. (I was one of them.)  I was directed to a young man they said was head of marketing for the HGTV event to answer my question. No, he said, that wasn’t it.  He said they (HGTV) were quite aware of their perceived image and distance from the reality of the design/build world. They were seeking valued input from people more (how did he put it?) “seasoned and experienced.” I decided to pick up my jaw with the left handed compliment and enjoy the night.

It was a small group in a hip private area, the upstairs of a New Orleans saloon.  Friend, Andrew Mauss, had asked if he could come along.  Sure. The plan was to make a short, polite appearance then back to the hotel, meet up with roommate, Molly Switzer, change and head off to the annual NKBA gala as scheduled. Molly waited.

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Before I knew it, David Bromsted (from Color Splash) was dancing with my business card in his teeth. The Jersey boys (Kitchen Cousins) were singing “Help Me, Rhonda.”

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Cheryl was there who I’d met briefly while up on the stage getting our awards.

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I met other new “little friends”, as my mother would say.  Then, these incredible people on either side of me said, instead of going to the “annual gala”, you’re coming with us. Period.  Andrew was scooped up, too, and Molly was leery about the kidnapping story but caught up to us later.  The night ended with a long group walk, espresso, beignets and a smiling face covered with powdered sugar. The next night, Brandon was kind enough to invite us to his house party there in New Orleans.  More bloggers, more fun.  The week and year to follow have been a game changer because of them.

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Since then, the circle has grown. I owe a big thanks to Cheryl Kees Clenendon, Meredith Heron, Brandon Smith,  Corey Klassen, Andie Day, Lori Gilder and Carmen Christensen for being so welcoming.

We kept in touch through social media and I got to see Cheryl and Corey again in Chicago.  Andie and I had talked about a potential project for the Boston bomb victims and later, I asked her a business question. Next thing I heard was my phone “Doll, Andie here”! I needed help with a long distance job in southern Florida and, although I hadn’t met Marilyn Russell and Patricia Davis, I recognized their names from the Blog Tour group. They called right back. I’d heard of Veronika (but still wasn’t sure who she was) when she was trying to help with a Frog List for a young woman with cancer. I jumped in to help with her NASCAR race wish.

This tribe has grown fast and I’m sure I’m forgetting some people. What a group of professionals –  passionate, compassionate, talented, supportive and all-out fun.

I recognized Martha Orella’s name and face from a video at KBIS and from the Blog Tour circle. After her presentation here in Portland, I introduced myself and mentioned Modenus and Blog Tour folks. Her face lit up and said “We’ve GOT to talk after this”! It was immediate propinquity. A drive back to her hotel, a glass of wine around the fire later, I believe she put it best. “I don’t know how she (Veronika Miller) does it but she  just attracts this amazing group of people”.

Then, I was contacted by Veronika Miller of Modenus about the possibility of joining the Blog Tour Group in Vegas – 2/2014.  

Where’s my hat?!


  1. All I’m saying is there WILL be a party again this year and it WILL be better than the one I threw last year in NOLA. The question is where….

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